December 5, 2016 Strategic Budget Committee meeting

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December 5, 2016 Strategic Budget Committee meeting

Postby Mary Wright » Sun Feb 19, 2017 3:10 pm


A meeting of the Strategic Budget Committee (StBC) was held on Monday, December 5, 2016 in the Municipal Center. Mr. Argall called the meeting to order at 6:04 PM.

PRESENT: Brett Argall (Vice Chairman), Pamela Holmes, Michael Hughes, Jay Sartori, Sherry Zetlan
NON-VOTING: Michael Guzinski (Town Administrator), Jeanne Lovett (Finance Director), Norm Yvon (School Superintendent), Cortney Keegan (School Business Manager)
ABSENT: Dave Cortese (Chairman-Excused)

1. Review Departmental Fees and Plan for Regional Survey of Fees.
Mr. Guzinski stated that forms have been sent to all departments that apply fees asking them to prepare a fee list. He has received feedback from all departments. Some departments’ fees are not included because their fees do not have any impact on the General Fund or because their fees are set and mandated by the State. Mr. Guzinski does not think there have been many changes in the fees in approximately 3-5 years. Ms. Lovett feels it is important to know where Douglas’ fees lie in relation to other communities. Mr. Guzinski explained that fees need to be connected to a cost borne by the community.
Ms. Holmes brought up the topic of a letter from the Douglas Athletic Boosters asking the School Committee to consider instituting a transportation fee. Mr. Yvon stated that the School Committee has asked him to get information regarding what other districts are charging a transportation fee, how it is working for them, regulations, etc. He will present that information at the 12/21/16 School Committee meeting. Ms. Zetlan stated that she spoke with the chairman of the Northbridge School Committee and they do charge for transportation, however they had to hire someone to help facilitate this because of all the rules and regulations. Collections are also an issue. Ms. Keegan stated that the School Committee has looked into transportation fees several times.
Mr. Guzinski stated that starting last season, the State is collecting $1 from every admission to the State park and those funds are being held until they reach $50,000. There have been some discussions with State representatives and DCR about raising that fee. Mr. Guzinski will check to see what other parks are collecting that fee and how much they collect.

2. Discuss Next Steps.
Mr. Guzinski stated that a meals tax (0.75%) is something the StBC could look into. Mr. Guzinski will research to see which communities are charging a meals tax and how much revenue could potentially come into Douglas.
A discussion was held regarding sending a letter from the StBC to other communities to ask for information regarding their General Fund Revenue fees. Mr. Argall will draft the letter.
Mr. Guzinski stated that the Governor’s Budget will come out around January 21, 2017, which is when they can start to look at revenue availability for FY18.
The request for departmental budgets will be going out very soon. Mr. Guzinski will ask the BOS for their recommendations as to what types of budgets the departments should prepare. The StBC could ask the departments for what a level-funded budget would look like and what a level-service budget looks like, and what those budgets would mean for their operations.

3. Minutes: November 1 and November 9, 2016.
Ms. Zetlan made a motion to approve the November 1, 2016 minutes of the joint meeting of the Strategic Budget Committee, Finance Committee, School Committee and Board of Selectmen as amended. Mr. Hughes seconded the motion. Vote: Unanimous.
Ms. Zetlan made a motion to approve the November 9, 2016 minutes of the Strategic Budget Committee meeting as amended. Mr. Sartori seconded the motion. Vote: Aye-4, Mr. Hughes abstained.

4. Old/ New Business
Old Business: Ms. Holmes reminded the committee to think about how to present the budgetary issues to the public.
New Business: Mr. Guzinski stated that there are some developers working with the Economic Development Commission (EDC) and the Worcester Business Development Corp. (WBDC).
The next meeting of the StBC will be in mid-January 2017.

5. Adjournment
Ms. Zetlan made a motion to adjourn the meeting at 6:52 PM. Mr. Hughes seconded the motion. Vote: Unanimous.

Respectfully submitted,

Mary Wright
Recording Secretary
Mary Wright
Posts: 609
Joined: Thu Jan 12, 2012 8:56 pm

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